I saw this depression cartoon on tumblr and I thought it would be something a lot of my readers would understand and relate to. You can follow the artist on tumblr by linking to the cartoon.
I do this all the time. Someone asks me if I am ok and I will say “I am just tired.” That is the go-to answer for many people. For a while I thought it was just me but the fact that this cartoon is so popular, lets me know that I am not the only person that responds this way.
You feel overwhelmed by what is going on in your brain. You feel the aches and pains of depression in your body.
You are afraid that if anyone actually knew what was going on inside of your head, they would judge you or never want to talk to you again. Or they might use it against you in some way, knowing you are weak.
Another fear is that they will say something that minimizes how I feel or invalidates it completely. They won’t understand how you are feeling or really want to hear the truth.
It is just simpler and less risky to respond with the “I am just tired” line. I must say that 10 times a week, at work.
Of course there are people that will use it to undermine you and stab you in the back. This is a woman to woman thing in the workplace. Many women are very supportive of each other in the work world, but there are a few “queen bees” here and there. Those women love to screw other women over.
So, we keep it to ourselves and people must just think we are always tired.
If there is one person, or a couple of them, outside of work, that we can be honest with, then that is a blessing. It is bad enough to feel attacked by your own thoughts. Having to choke down those feelings all the time makes it worse.
I sometimes feel so paranoid that someone at work will find out I have mental illness issues, that I voluntarily mention that I feel tired today.
So here we are. We are all tired.
And we are tired, to be sure. But in addition to being tired , we are weak and we are vulnerable to other people who do not sympathize with us.
It seems that it has become harder and harder to pass off the “I am just tired” line at work anymore. I feel uncomfortable when people ask how I am feeling in the workplace. I also feel uncomfortable in certain social situations.
For the most part, I only like discussing my real feelings with one person in a one to one situation. Even then, it has to be someone who understands anxiety and depression.
I was blindsided at the therapist visit last week. This is the therapist for my family member, not for me. The family member agreed to have their sessions video taped. I was on the video camera and the therapist asked me about my personal feelings about a part of the whole situation that is very traumatic to me.
I was not expecting the personal feelings question. In the past they just included me as a family member from time to time for support. I suddenly became aware of the video camera on me and i freaked out.
I felt like I was in a room full of people and being forced into a sever emotional state by the question. It was not so much the question about my feelings, but the fact that I had to think about that trauma and talk about it in front of the video camera. I had the feeling of a room full of people, rather than one therapist asking me to identify my feelings.
I have such anxiety about answering the” How Are You Feeling” question that the” How Did You Feel When…” question can be worse. If it is about a traumatic memory to me then I don’t want to be asked it, in a room full of people.
I did not know how to explain that the camera felt like extra people in the room to me. In effect, it really is. So I just fell into this anxiety attack and said all kinds of stupid things that didn’t connect. I must have sounded very crazy because I kept changing the subject to things that were less painful to talk about. My answer came out very disjunct.
I wish I had just said “I feel tired today. Let me think about that question until next week”. Then I could have told her afterwards to please not do that to me with the camera on.
Anyway, that is how I am feeling today LOL